The Baton Rouge Metro Council picked up where they left off at the last meeting in July and took a vote Wednesday on the so-called “fairness ordinance”. The anti-discrimination measure failed on an 8-4 vote.
The changes to city code offered by Council member C. Denise Marcelle would have provided protections for a variety of groups. But Marcelle pointed out, the opposition — often citing scripture — focused solely on the protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender people.
“If you want to say that gay and lesbian people are subhuman do that," Marcelle said. "But to say that they do not have a right to due process of law is wrong in my opinion.”
The measure would have m ade discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation grounds for a civil suit. At the July meeting, Council member John Delgado told those fearful of litigation, “just don’t discriminate.”
Wednesday Council member Buddy Amoroso called that unrealistic, rattling off headlines from other locales where passage of similar measures has been followed by legal action.
Though it would have applied to businesses, religious organizations would have been exempted under the measure proposed for Baton Rouge. Council member Chauna Banks-Daniel called that hypocritical.
“If we’re saying it’s wrong, let it be wrong for everybody,” Banks-Daniel said.
Council Member Ronnie Edwards said the implications of the “fairness ordinance” were just too far-reaching to be decided by the 12-member council, suggesting it should be put on a ballot.
“I don’t believe that this day will be the end of this issue," Edwards said.